I read a question and the answers, and get curious to know what the end result was after applying the accepted answer. I can't think of any practical way to motivate the asker to provide the end results, which I think would be very useful.

I know this is not relevant to SO and other SE sites. Maybe I am just starting another debate on "this is a Question/Answer site". Am I proposing something totally different?

  • 5
    not just you, it's this site. On SO, for example, once a solution is given, end of story. Here, we are left hanging. Jan 19 '17 at 13:19
  • Something I've seen work somewhat often is having someone paste a comment tagging that user, asking them to edit their answer with the results. Because that user then will see a notification in their inbox of this, and be reminded to add said results.
    – schizoid04
    Jun 19 '17 at 21:09

No, you are not the only one. I am sure a lot of the regular users feel the same way. I am often curious as well to know how my good (or bad) my answers turn out practically (assuming OP finds my answer useful in the first place!).

As you have rightly guessed, there is not a whole lot you can do to remedy this situation. The only two options that I can see for individual users is:

  • Post a comment on the question after a few weeks, and hope that the OP responds. However, comments are usually chased out of town with torches and pitchforks moved to chat here, in other words, strongly discouraged. Anyway, that leads to the next point.

  • Invite the user to chat and request him to share his experiences. The OP could see this as anything between a friendly conversation starter to a creepy stalking. Long story short, don't do this.

As a community however, we could gradually change the "culture" such that users accept answers only after they have tried it and it "somewhat" works for them. Again, that is a long path to tread, and requires collective action, which means it won't happen any time soon.

To reiterate, none of this is practical, as you have noted. The key issue here is our site uses the same framework as StackOverflow (which is one of the "Big 3" that Stack Exchange started with.) A couple of things work differently there (in this context):

  • In most cases, an answer either works or it doesn't, and when it doesn't there are only a few things that go wrong, so accepting an answer and/or a "thanks, this worked" is sufficient evidence that OP found it useful.
  • It is easy for any third person to verify the solution, even when the OP doesn't indicate anything.

On a "subjective" site like this one, both of these points do not apply.

  • Applying the answer usually involves real human beings. As a result, we cannot predict, or even imagine, all the outcomes possible.
  • Most of the time, we cannot "verify" the solution to someone else's problem by applying it to our own life, because each situation is unique.

This does not mean, however, that nothing is possible. Some ideas of the back of my mind are:

  • Offer a "question bounty" encouraging the OP to post a summary of which answers he actually tried, and how well they turned out.
  • A slightly milder version of the above is to offer a badge for offering such feedback.
  • Provide additional reputation for providing the feedback (similar to the +2 on accepting an answer). To prevent rep-farming by sowing useless feedback, this could be reviewed by moderators or users with privileges.

Unfortunately though, there is historical evidence to show that StackExchange employees do not care about features that do not benefit StackOverflow, and that they only seem to care about the smaller sites to pick so-called HNQ, which boosts their traffic.


I think we all get a bit curious about some questions, so it's not just you. On rare occasions the OP does give the follow up which is great. But not really necessary in terms of what we're trying to do here which transcends an individual OP's needs of the moment.

I spend quite a lot of time on Stack Overflow looking for solutions, quite often the answer most useful to me isn't the accepted one, because my problem is slightly different and something else fits better with my needs.

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